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Offbeat News

Taiwan pleads with citizens not to change name to 'Salmon'

Taipei - A top Taiwanese official issued a plea on Thursday for people to stop changing their name to "salmon" after dozens made the unusual move to take advantage of a restaurant promotion.

Strange Twitter bug bans users for mentioning 'Memphis'

San Francisco - Twitter users who used the word "Memphis" found themselves temporarily locked out of their accounts at the weekend because of a bizarre bug.

Star Wars fans build Mandalorian spaceship in Siberia

Yakutsk - Star Wars fans in Russia have built a giant replica of a spaceship from the spinoff series "The Mandalorian" and installed it in a park in one of the coldest cities on Earth.

In the can: armed Hong Kong toilet roll heist gang jailed

Fpo - Knife-wielding men who stole hundreds of toilet rolls during panic-buying shortages in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic in Hong Kong were jailed for more than three years on Thursday.

The unstoppable revenge of the mullet

Paris - "Business in front, party in the back": a hairstyle considered so obnoxious that for years it verged on being an arrestable offence, the mullet has made the unlikeliest comeback of the century.

Taiwan prepares white rhino 'Emma' to find mate in Japan

Hsinchu - Emma, five years old, slim build with a gentle demeanour, is looking for love overseas. Hobbies include hanging with friends and studying Japanese. Seeks fellow rhino for companionship and mating.

Ice surfers carve up Finland's frozen sea

Apo - What to do if you are a windsurfing enthusiast in a country where the sea freezes over for months of the year?

No kidding: video calls with goats boost British farm

Blackburn - A British farmer came up with a jokey idea to rent out her goats to liven up video call meetings -- and found an unexpected source of lockdown income.

For sale: London's thinnest house

London - Blink and you could easily miss it. Wedged between a doctor's surgery and a hairdressing salon, London's thinnest house is only identified by a streak of dark blue paint.But the five-floor house in Shepherd's Bush -- which is just 5ft 6ins (1.

Prickly customer: Sniffer dog on point as Kiwi cactus smuggler pinched

Wellington - New Zealand authorities have snagged a woman who tried to smuggle hundreds of cactus plants hidden in stockings strapped to her body through airport security.

Australian man fights off crocodile to survive attack

Brisbane - A man pried a crocodile's jaws from his head to survive an attack in northern Australia on Thursday, afterwards insisting he will soon return to the swimming spot, according to paramedics.

Don't pimp my ride: Afghanistan retires '39' number plates

Kabul - Afghan traffic authorities are retiring licence plates containing the number "39" because the figure has long been associated with pimping and prostitution.

Swan Late: mourning bird holds up German trains

Berlin - A swan mourning the death of its companion on a German railway track held up 23 trains for almost an hour and had to be removed by firefighters using special equipment, police said.

GoDaddy apologises for fake Christmas bonus email security test

Washington - US web company GoDaddy apologized Thursday after an email that promised employees a Christmas bonus in the midst of the economic crisis turned out to be a computer security test."GoDaddy takes the security of our platform extremely seriously.

US parents in bizarre 'balloon boy' hoax granted pardon

Los Angeles - Two Colorado parents jailed for falsely claiming their six-year-old son Falcon had floated away in a homemade balloon shaped like a flying saucer have been granted pardons by the western US state's governor.

Lovesick Scot jailed for breaching Covid rules on jet-ski odyssey

London - A lovesick Scottish man who bought a jet-ski so he could evade lockdown measures to visit his girlfriend in the Isle of Man has been jailed for breaching coronavirus restrictions, reports said.

Grassed up: hapless drug suspect's phone reveals stash to cops

London - A suspected drug dealer stopped by British police caught a lucky break when they found nothing in his car -- until he pulled out his phone to access a translation app and inadvertently showed officers a video of his cannabis farm.

2020: What a funny old year it was...

Paris - The coronavirus has not given us much to laugh about in 2020. Yet the year still had its fair share of the weird and the wonderful.

Day football dyed: Chinese match off because 'hair not black enough'

Shanghai - A women's university football match in China descended into farce and was eventually called off after players were told that they were not allowed to have dyed hair, state media said Tuesday.

'Don't leave trash in the desert': Utah monolith removal explained

Los Angeles - The mystery of how a metal monolith appeared in the Utah desert remains, but the riddle of its removal seems to have been solved -- and sadly, has nothing to do with aliens.

Mystery over metal monolith found on Romanian hilltop

Bucharest - A metal monolith which mysteriously appeared on a hilltop in northern Romania has sparked curiosity -- and mockery -- online, coming just days after a similar object was found in the Utah desert.

Mysterious monolith in US desert reportedly disappears

Los Angeles - A mysterious metal monolith found in the remote desert of the western United States, sparking a national guessing game over how it got there, has apparently disappeared, officials said.

Fugging hell: Tired of mockery, Austrian village changes name

Vienna - Residents of an Austrian village will ring in the new year under a new name -- Fugging -- after ridicule of their signposts, especially on social media, became too much to bear.

New Zealand vows crackdown on defecating backpackers

Wellington - The New Zealand government promised Wednesday to take action against backpackers relieving themselves at natural beauty spots as part of post-coronavirus tourism plans.

Private protection: Croatian codpiece is hit with tourists

Plitvicka Jezera - Once used to warm men's private parts during harsh winters in rural Croatia, the woollen codpiece or 'nakurnjak' is making a comeback as a popular souvenir, thanks to a handful of women preserving traditional handicrafts from oblivion.

Pigeon sells for record 1.6 mn euros to Chinese fancier

Apo - An unidentified Chinese buyer on Sunday paid a world record 1.6 million euros ($1.9 million) for a female homing pigeon called New Kim, online auctioneers Pigeon Paradise (PIPA) said.The sale beat the 1.

Bethlehem 'Corona Sandwich' eases bite of tourism loss

Bethlehem - When the coronavirus pandemic left Bethlehem without its hordes of visitors, tour guide Raed Bannura needed a new source of income.

Trolls get creative after WHO censors Taiwan

Taipei - Alleged censorship of Taiwan on the World Health Organization's Facebook page inspired some creative trolling Thursday, with special characters and foreign scripts used to bypass filters that also censored Winnie the Pooh, a character used to poke fun ...

Star Wars toys discovered in bin bags net £400,000 for UK couple

London - A British couple have thanked their lucky stars after a garage full of bin bags they inherited from a dead neighbour yielded a trove of Star Wars toys worth £400,000 ($525,000).

What a tail: whale sculpture saves runaway Dutch train

Spijkenisse - A runaway Dutch metro train was saved from disaster on Monday after it smashed through a stop barrier but then came to rest on a giant sculpture of a whale's tail.
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